Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is downplaying his police department’s idea of redrawing police patrol beats, saying he would rather deploy officers from special units to areas plagued by crime. The Chicago Tribune quotes Daley as saying, “You use them where crime is, where crime occurs. It occurs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If it’s a high incidence between such and such a time, that is when you deploy people.”
Police Department officials have been saying since January that they would produce a significant overhaul of the city’s 279 patrol beats. The idea met with staunch political resistance from aldermen in low-crime, middle-class wards who oppose making police beats larger in their neighborhoods so officers could be concentrated in higher-crime areas.
Chicago has seen 181 murders in 2003. The figure is nine more than at the same time last year.
Separately, a Tribune editorial reports in detail on Project Safe Neighborhoods, “the most aggressive attack on gun violence Chicago has ever seen.” The editors say that the program “desperately needs to succeed if the homicide numbers here are to diminish…”